Crackdown on illicit tobacco has impressive results

Posted on Friday 30th December 2022

Work by Newport City Council’s trading standards team over the last 12 months has included the targeting of illicit tobacco sales in the city. 

There have been 12 seizures of items with an estimated retail value of £746,000 consisting of more than 1.3m cigarettes and 172kg of hand-rolling tobacco. 

Nineteen ASB closure orders were successfully obtained and it is estimated this prevented a minimum of further illicit tobacco sales of £850,000. 

Guidance has also been provided to several UK trading standards authorities who are considering using ASB closure orders to tackle illicit tobacco issues in their areas. 

Four prosecutions resulted in penalties including fines, unpaid work and costs. Under the Proceeds of Crime Act £1,200 was seized with £100,000 the subject of a restraint order. Six investigations are ongoing. 

The council’s trading standards team were supported by partners from Gwent Police, Aneurin Bevan University Health Board, Ash Wales, South Wales Fire and Rescue, Newport NOW, HM Customs and Excise, representatives from the tobacco industry and officers from Operation CeCe, a specialist trading standards team tackling illegal tobacco. 

Councillor James Clarke, Newport City Council’s cabinet member for strategic planning, regulation and housing, said: “I would like to commend our officers, and our partners, for taking robust action to tackle the sales of illegal tobacco. 

“It is known that such sales undermine key tobacco control measures and fund criminal activity in our communities. 

“We will continue to pursue those who participate in this crime and urge anyone with information about sales of illicit tobacco in the city to report it.” 

Information can be reported at 

Newport’s trading standards officers have also been successful in removing illegal vapes from sale. 

  • More than 200 businesses have been inspected
  • 1,524 illegal vapes have been seized with a combined value of almost £14,000
  • Illegal vapes were removed from sale in 20 premises
  • A prosecution resulted in a fine of £1,332 plus costs of £1,046. 

Councillor Clarke said: “Illegal vapes posed a serious risk to health and again I would like to thank our officers for their work in this area. Anyone with information about the possible sale of illegal vapes should contact the council.”

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